Kenya is calling

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Kenya offers a world of attractions and opportunities for the discerning business and leisure traveller. Its cosmopolitan capital, Nairobi, is the only city in the world with a national park attached to it. The city offers a number of well-known hotels and restaurants, and there are also some of the finest golf courses as well as numerous other activities available. Kenya is not only capable of hosting business travellers, but is also the ideal destination for conferences and incentive trips.  It is regularly visited by business travellers from various companies worldwide. Its most lucrative industries are agriculture – which contributes 20% to GDP – and tourism. Most business travellers from South Africa visit Kenya for mining and petroleum.

Getting there

Kenya is the most accessible country in the East Africa region, with 91 international flights arriving and departing

from Nairobi every week. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is located in Nairobi and is only about 20 minutes from the main business district of the city. The smaller international airports are located in Mombasa and Eldoret.

The national carrier, Kenya Airways, has an established route network, currently serving 41 African destinations and a total of 50 cities worldwide. Kenya Airways currently offers flights between Nairobi and Johannesburg every day. The most popular service for business travellers is the midnight flight out of OR Tambo. It departs at 00h40 arriving in Nairobi at 05h45. Other airlines operating flights to Kenya include SAA, BA, Ethiopian Airlines and Precision Air.

Getting around

Most hotels offer an airport shuttle bus service, but public bus services are provided and taxis are readily available outside main hotels, shopping arcades and central city points. There are a number of dial-up taxi companies in all major towns. A tariff sheet should be available and it is advisable to agree on the price of the journey before setting off.

There are many well-established and reputable car hire companies. Motorists drive on the left. Traffic on rainy days can be chaotic, but the road network is generally well developed.

Communication

English is the official language of Kenya and the locals are warm and friendly. Mobile phone coverage is provided countrywide and SIM and top-up cards are readily available. Internet cafés operate in most urban areas but most hotels will offer Internet access.

Money

Kenya currency is Kenyan Shilling (KSh). Foreign currency can be changed at banks, forex bureaux, hotels and airports. The slang word for cash is ‘bob’. Available notes are 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings, while the coins are 1, 5, 10, 20 and 40 shillings. Banks in the major centres are open from 09h00 to 15h00 Monday to Friday and from 09h00 to 11h00 on the first and last Saturday of each month. Banks in coastal towns open and close half an hour earlier. ATM s are located throughout the country while all major international credit cards are widely accepted. Traveller’s cheques are accepted at most banks, bureaux and hotels.

Where to stay

Various business hotels are located in Nairobi, and a number of new developments are also under way.

Nairobi Serena Hotel:

Known for its exceptional standards of efficiency, service and hospitality, the 183-room hotel offers an oasis of serenity amid the bustle of the vibrant city. The interior decor reflects a pan-African theme featuring art and inspiration from Ethiopia, the Maghreb, West Africa and East Africa. There is also a fine-dining restaurant, Mandhari, on the property as well as a world-class conference centre and the Maisha Health Club and Spa. It is located in central Nairobi overlooking Central Park and is five minutes’ walk from the CBD.

Hilton Nairobi Hotel:

 This hotel is next to the craft market and is 25 minutes’ drive from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The restaurants and bars include the Traveller’s Restaurant, Sale E Pepe Restaurant and the Jockey Pub. There are seven meeting rooms for two to 500 delegates and a business centre with high-speed Internet access. Other facilities include an outdoor pool, gym and health club. All of the rooms have Internet access. Executive Rooms are available where guests receive complimentary refreshments throughout their stay at the Executive Lounge.

Sankara Nairobi:

Opened only a few months ago, the hotel offers new heights in contemporary luxury in Nairobi. The spacious hotel rooms, stunning rooftop pool and world-class spa create the ideal environment for guests to relax and unwind. There is also a choice of dining areas as well as carefully designed meeting spaces. Sankara is all about personal service offering an online preference planner and en route check-in from the airport courtesy car. The mini bar is stocked to guests’ wishes, spa treatments and restaurant tables reserved, and meeting rooms and events tailored to their requirements.

Tribe – The Village Market Hotel:

This recent addition to the African Pride portfolio has 137 rooms including various suites. The hotel offers an unrivalled level of luxury. It is situated adjacent to The Village Market Shopping and Recreation Centre in the upmarket suburb of Gigiri. The in-house restaurant, Epic, serves continental cuisine with an African fusion for lunch and dinner. The Lounge is open in the morning and the Nest in the late afternoon. Conferencing facilities are available on site, as well as wireless Internet access and a wellness spa.

Dos, don’ts and other tips

It is an offence to smoke in a public place, deface a Kenyan banknote, urinate in public, sunbathe topless, hire a prostitute, buy or take drugs, remove wildlife products from Kenya, export products made from elephant, rhino or sea turtle derivatives, or to remove coal. Swearing and blasphemy is inadvisable. Visitors should stand when the Kenyan anthem is played or the flag raised and lowered. Tipping is appreciated, but most hotels and restaurants include a 10% service charge. Shopping and business hours are from 08h30 to 12h30 and 14h00 to 17h30 Monday to Saturday. Many businesses work on Saturday mornings. Standard 13-amp three-pin square plugs are used. A valid passport, not expiring for at least six months is required for entry into Kenya. A valid entry visa can be obtained from the Kenya Embassy or High Commission or upon arrival in Kenya. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required.

Conferencing in Kenya

Being easily accessible and offering a variety of conferencing facilities makes Kenya an ideal location for conferencing. Many of the hotels have state-of-the-art facilities available for meetings and events. The most notable facility is the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC). KICC has capacity to host up to 4000 delegates and is marketed as Africa’s premier meeting venue. The 30-storey building is centrally located in Nairobi. It has several wellequipped conference and meeting rooms. It has Simultaneous Interpretation Equipment with the capability of up to seven languages, as well as a modern business centre, a banking facility, tour and travel services, expansive grounds and ample secure parking.

Leisure activities

Golf

There are more than 40 golf courses located in Kenya, although not all of them are 18 holes. The most well known is Muthaiga Golf Club, the home of the Kenya Open, while other good courses in the Nairobi area include the Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club and the Royal Nairobi. Nine- and 18-hole courses are dotted all around the highland areas above Nairobi. Along the coast, golfers can expect a tropical atmosphere in terms of climate and playing conditions. Two noteworthy courses are the Nyali Golf Club and Leisure Golf Club.

Wildlife

There are many reserves located in Kenya where visitors can enjoy various wildlife experiences, but the country’s biggest attraction is the annual migration of the wildebeest. From July to October each year about two million wildebeest, accompanied by half a million zebras and thousands of gazelles move north from the Serengeti in search of lush grass and water. There they graze until October which is when they turn around and head south again.

Beaches

Kenya’s beaches offer the ultimate in relaxation. There are 480 kilometres of beach, of which 50% is sheltered by unspoilt coral reef. It is the ideal destination for adventure and sports tourism. Mombasa and Malindi are popular options for beach breaks. Kenya is one of the world’s top diving destinations and has no less than five marine national parks: Watamu, Mombasa, Malindi, Kisite and Kiunga. The best diving conditions are from October to April, when the water is particularly warm and clear.

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